These days, there are all sorts of ways to make money as a voice actor. In fact, it can be a lucrative side hustle or even a full-time career. And the best part is, you don’t need to have much experience to get started.
While doing voice overs may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re brainstorming ways to make extra income, it’s an awesome option for anyone who’s confident in their speaking voice.
All you need to get started is to work on your skills, equip yourself with the right tools, and seek out opportunities.
If you want to learn how to make money doing voice overs but you aren’t sure how to get started, this is the perfect guide for you.
We’ll break down what it takes to become a successful voice actor and how to find your first paying gigs.
Let’s dive in!
Required Skills To Make Money As A Voice Actor
When you first get started as a voice actor, it’s important to have a few relevant skills.
If you haven’t yet mastered these basics, it’s a good idea to start practicing and refining to improve your chances of landing paid voice acting work.
Here are some of the main skills you will need to develop if you want to make money as a voice actor:
If you want to get paid to speak, you need to be a skilled, confident speaker.
Potential clients need to know that you can deliver a performance or information in a way that’s clear and captivating.
Therefore, capitalize on every opportunity to improve your public speaking skills.
You may even want to join a speaking group or club to get regular practice and feedback from others.
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Audio Recording And Editing
Aside from being able to confidently use your voice, you’ll also need to have some technical skills to make money doing voice overs.
Even if your dream is to be a voice actor for films or television, you’ll likely need to start by recording and editing your voice for smaller projects.
You’ll need to become familiar with voice recording and editing software like Adobe Audition, Sony SoundForge Pro, Audacity, or a similar program.
Fortunately, there are tons of resources (free and paid) online that will help you master these specific programs and make your voice overs sound professional.
If you do want to learn about audio recording and editing, we recommend checking out a few of the courses on Udemy.
Business And Marketing
When you decide to start voice acting, jobs don’t just fall into your lap.
So, you’ll need to have some basic knowledge of your value proposition, and you’ll need to be able to communicate your value to people who need your skills.
To be clear, you don’t have to go to business school to start your own voice acting side gig or career.
But if you want to be a successful voice actor, treat your goal like a business. Learn ways to find the right prospects and market your services to them.
How To Get Jobs As A Voice Actor
As is the case with most new business endeavors, one of the most difficult parts of becoming a voice actor is landing your first few jobs.
Thankfully, there are many different ways to get started.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and you can carve out your own path depending on what your end goals are.
One way to make money as a voice actor when you’re just getting started is to join pay to play networks like Bodalgo.com, Voices.com, and Voice123.
These sites are highly competitive but provide plenty of audition opportunities.
Another way to find your first job is to look locally for voice over work at radio stations.
Just keep persevering and putting yourself out there. You just need to get in front of the right people.
Necessary Equipment For Voice Actors
If you really want to make a good living as a voice actor or voice over artist, it’s vital to have a professional recording environment with high quality equipment.
But that doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars up front.
When you’re just starting out in voice acting, you don’t need a ton of fancy, expensive equipment to start earning money.
Like any business, we recommend keeping your costs low while you’re still in the early stages of establishing yourself as a voice actor.
After all, you can always upgrade your setup later on.
Until you’re ready to invest in professional equipment, here’s the equipment you’ll need to get started:
- Quiet space: Create your own home recording studio, and do your best to sound-proof your space. Also, make sure your room of choice is far away from noisy household appliances and traffic sounds. (Quick tip: if you don’t want to spend money soundproofing a room, you can always record yourself in a closet filled with clothes.)
- High-quality microphone: A good condenser microphone is your most important piece of equipment as a voice over artist. Having done quite a bit of recording myself, I recommend the Rode NT-USB mic. It doesn’t require an audio interface, and the audio quality is fantastic.
- Pop shield: Isolate any hisses or sharp breaths with a pop shield, so your sound will be crystal clear.
- Computer with recording software: You’ll need a device on which to record all of your voice overs along with a program for sound editing. There are many such softwares available online.
Top 10 Ways To Make Money As A Voice Actor
Ok, so you’ve equipped yourself with the right equipment, you’ve started working on your skills, and now it’s time to land some voice over jobs.
But where do you start?
Well, there are tons of ways to make money doing voice overs and voice acting depending on what type of voice artist you aspire to be.
The following list, though not exhaustive, provides a good starting point for different avenues you can pursue as a voice actor.
Whether your goal is to make a bit of extra cash on the side or to turn voice acting into your full-time career, the ideas on this list will help you get there.
You can market practically any kind of voice service on a freelancing platform like Fiverr.
In fact, this is one of the best ways to find new clients and build your portfolio when you’re just getting started.
You don’t have to pay to join the platform, and it’s great for driving exposure to your new voice acting or voice over business.
On Fiverr, you can create different types of gigs, like podcast introductions or short film voice acting, and people searching for those services will be able to easily find you.
To increase your chances of success, be sure to include a sample of what your voice sounds like on your profile.
Podcasts have become a go-to source for entertainment and information, and many people prefer listening to podcasts instead of the radio.
Therefore, if you have expertise in a certain topic, you could pair your knowledge with your voice over skills to create a successful podcast.
There are a bunch of different ways to monetize a podcast, but one of the most straightforward methods is to gain sponsorships from brands. Typically, you’ll need to work your way up to a large following before brands begin to reach out to you.
If you don’t have any ideas for your own podcast and would rather help someone else with theirs, you can still make money as a voice actor. You could offer to record unique podcast introductions for podcasters.
These introductions help a podcast seem more legitimate and professional.
Most video advertisements and commercials include voice overs that help sell a company’s product. And the best news is that commercials are no longer limited to cable television.
All sorts of businesses large and small create video advertisements that display online or on YouTube.
Consider lending your vocal talents to help businesses market themselves. You could approach businesses directly, look for commercial gigs online, or sell your services on a freelancing platform like Fiverr (as we already discussed).
Animated feature films are an ideal way to get started with voice acting, even if you don’t have much experience.
Voice actors for animated films get to participate in the portrayal of stories without ever having to show their faces on-screen.
Film roles can be highly competitive, but don’t let that discourage you. Going on auditions is a great way to gain practice and to continue improving your skills.
You’ll increase your chances of success in voice acting auditions if you put together a sample reel that demonstrates your best work.
For this reason, voice acting for film is a great avenue to pursue after you have some other paid gigs under your belt.
5. Animated Shorts
Similarly to feature films, the producers of animated short films are always in need of decent voice actors.
Short films tend to have a lower barrier to entry than full-length feature films since they don’t require as much work and tend to be produced by lesser-known individuals.
Film students at universities often need to produce short films for class projects, and many will offer paid gigs to encourage voice actors to participate.
Though, just because the competition might be lighter, you’ll likely still need to audition and have some sample work prepared.
Believe it or not, unpaid jobs doing voice overs for animated short films are great portfolio-builders when you’re first starting out.
After all, the more experience you can get, the more inclined people will be to trust you with their projects.
Could you see yourself relaying the news of the day or discussing pop culture on-air? Radio could be a great option for you.
While working in radio isn’t necessarily voice acting, it will still provide you with plenty of relevant experience. Then, when you want to move on to different projects, you’ll have a full repertoire of examples to pull from.
Look for information about your local radio stations and see if there are any paid opportunities to host or co-host a show.
To qualify for this type of position, it helps to have an agreeable personality and to be knowledgeable about the topics your station of choice covers.
7. Video Games
You can make money as a voice actor by providing the voices of characters in video games.
This gig tends to be a smaller commitment, since you usually don’t have to recite pages of lines like you do when you’re voice acting in a movie.
You can land paid voice over gigs for video games through networking, posting your services on freelancing platforms, or approaching video game companies directly.
While it may be more difficult to land work with a large video game company, you may have more luck working with independent game makers.
With services like Audible increasing in popularity, more and more people are listening to books on their commutes instead of reading them.
Therefore, you can make money as a voice actor by turning authors’ books into audiobooks.
Many authors don’t want to read and record their own voice for their audiobooks. In fact, most of them don’t have the proper audio equipment, and they don’t want to have to purchase it for a single project.
That’s where you come in. Full audiobooks recordings tend to be lucrative deals since they require a lot of your time.
If you can land a few audiobook gigs throughout the year, you’ll have the opportunity to earn some significant income.
Documentarians often hire voice over artists to accompany the visuals in their productions.
The documentary genre typically relies on voice overs to complete the telling of their stories, and oftentimes, the filmmakers don’t want to narrate.
You can target the documentary film niche with your voice over services and start to build up your expertise specifically for this genre.
If you can establish relationships with documentarians, they may end up hiring you for many more of their projects.
10. Training And E-Learning
An often-overlooked arena for voice over artists is the online education space; which is why e-learning is such a great opportunity.
Videos for online training and courses are more popular now than ever as the education space has largely shifted online.
Many influencers and educators create digital courses but don’t like the sound of their own voice.
Lucky for them, you can help narrate their course modules—for a nice fee, of course.
Or, for a different route, you can help corporate businesses create training videos for their employees.
Either way, the training and e-learning space is ripe for the taking if you want to make money as a voice actor.
So, there you have it!
As you can see, there are many ways to make money as a voice actor.
Whether you choose to start freelancing on Fiverr, start your own podcast, or help companies create training videos for their employees, the income opportunity for voice actors has never been better.
All you have to do is pair your skills with a bit of determination and creativity, and you can definitely start earning an income with your voice.
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